Patient Guide

Hearing Loss

Hearing loss affects all age groups, but is more common in the elderly.

About 30% of people above the age of 65 years suffer from hearing loss.

How do we hear?

To understand hearing problems, it is essential to know how our ear works. The human ear can be divided into 3 parts.

  1. Outer ear
    Inclides ear canal and eardrum. Sound passes through the ear canal and vibrates the eardrum.
  2. Middle ear
    Includes 3 tiny bones that are connected to one another. These tiny bones also vibrate to transfer sound to the inner ear.
  3. Inner ear
    It is a snail-shaped part. It receives sound from the middle ear, converts the sound into electrical signals and transmits these to the brain via the hearing nerve. A part of this is also responsible for balance function.

What causes heaing loss?

Hearing loss in adults may result from several causes and it may be temporary or permanent.

hearing loss may result from:

  • Injury and infection to outer or middle ear
  • Middle ear bone problems
  • Exposure to prolonged loud noises
  • Prolonged use of certain medicines
  • Viral infections of the inner ear
  • Natural ageing process
  • Fluid imbalance in the inner ear
  • Tumor of the hearing nerve

How is hearing loss classified?

Based on the severity of the problem, it is classified into 4 basic groups.

  • Mild - May have difficulty hearing at a distance and softer speech
  • Moderate - Frequently needs repetition and louder volume
  • Severe - Always requires louder volume to hear
  • Profound - Requires loud speech even at a close distance

Impact of hearing loss

Hearing loss may

  • Significantly limit one's social life
  • Affect relationships with family members
  • Interfere with occupational performance
  • Reduce quality of life
  • Lead to reduced self-esteem

Individuals with mild hearing loss may not be aware of their hearing difficulties. Family members and friends often alert them. If you are one of them, the following section will provide useful information.

Self-screening for hearing loss

Please note that this is not a substitute for a formal hearing test.)

You may be suffering from hearing loss, if you:

  • Think others often mumble
  • Often misinterprete what others say
  • Need to turn up the volume of the television/radio
  • Often require others to repeat what they have just said
  • Have difficulty communicating at a distance or in a group
  • Have difficulty hearing the telephone ring and /or conversation

Treatment and rehabilitation options depend on the cause, severity and type of hearing loss.

Benefits of treatment

Some types of hearing loss are medically or surgically treatable, while others are not. Timely treatment or rehabilitation can help restore the quality of life to a great extent.

Benefits of hearing aids

Hearing loss resulting from ageing and certain causes are irreversible. Hearing aids can greatly enhance the quality of life in many cases.